Days 4 and 5 – Over Hill, Over Dale…

After a very pleasant stay at the campsite near Stella we took off, full of optimism that the few hills we had climbed to get there the day before were nearly done, and that we’d be on the flat plains before our cream-filled croissants were even digested…not to be, I’m afraid to report. Turns our those ‘hills’ are actually ‘mountains’, albeit little ones, but pretty damn steep and not near finished. It was a long, hard slog up there, but right at the top we were rewarded with an excellent (and expensive!) lunch under the pines.

You’re right. That last one looks a little nasty. It was pretty tasty though.

The rest of our day amounted to descending onto the hot plains of northern Italy and fruitlessly searching for a campsite. We ended up in a spa town at the end of the mountains, and other than WiFi and gelatto I have nothing to report.

Day 5 saw us heading north a little with thoughts of catching a train to speed us up a little. At our morning coffee break we discovered something nice – people on the flat bits of Italy ride their bikes all over the place. I may add also that they seem to hang onto their steeds for many years. Check out the antiquity of these machines!

And the very cool peddle-on-curb way they park them.

After finishing our cappuccinos I brought my water bottle back into the cafe and asked the lady for a refill. Well, actually what I did was I held out the bottle while throwing glances at the tap! She understood perfectly though and proceeded to search around the fridge. When she emerged she was holding a lemon. She then sliced the lemon, refilled the bottle, and chucked a slice in…with a smile! This little gesture made my day, not to mention giving me a great idea for spicing up my water a little!

The rest of the ride that morning was uneventful, but we did pass our first sunflower field, which is always nice.

Then, in Tortona, we hopped on the train for 200 km or so. Here is the first of several bike-friendly train shots of our trip. I am ever surprised by the speed in which things can change – in every country we attempted it, there was no problem at all getting our bikes on a train.

We got off the train in Piacenza and then rode another 30 km or so to the very pretty little city of Cremona, which deserves its own entry, so you’ll just have to wait!

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